A new book by Phil Tetlock and Dan Gardner on Super-Forecasting.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
Everyone would benefit from seeing further into the future, whether buying stocks, crafting policy, launching a new product, or simply planning the week’s meals. Unfortunately, people tend to be terrible forecasters. As Wharton professor Philip Tetlock showed in a landmark 2005 study, even experts’ predictions are only slightly better than chance. However, an important and underreported conclusion of that study was that some experts do have real foresight, and Tetlock has spent the past decade trying to figure out why. What makes some people so good? And can this talent be taught?
In Superforecasting, Tetlock and coauthor Dan Gardner offer a masterwork on prediction, drawing on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament. The Good Judgment Project involves tens of thousands of ordinary people—including a Brooklyn filmmaker, a retired pipe installer, and a former ballroom dancer—who set out to forecast global events. Some of the volunteers have turned out to be astonishingly good. They’ve beaten other benchmarks, competitors, and prediction markets. They’ve even beaten the collective judgment of intelligence analysts with access to classified information. They are “superforecasters.”
In this groundbreaking and accessible book, Tetlock and Gardner show us how we can learn from this elite group. Weaving together stories of forecasting successes (the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound) and failures (the Bay of Pigs) and interviews with a range of high-level decision makers, from David Petraeus to Robert Rubin, they show that good forecasting doesn’t require powerful computers or arcane methods. It involves gathering evidence from a variety of sources, thinking probabilistically, working in teams, keeping score, and being willing to admit error and change course. Superforecasting offers the first demonstrably effective way to improve our ability to predict the future—whether in business, finance, politics, international affairs, or daily life—and is destined to become a modern classic.
Archivio per ottobre 2015
Scientific Data is a new open-access, online-only publication for descriptions of scientifically valuable datasets.
The study of socio-technical systems has been revolutionized by the unprecedented amount of digital records that are constantly being produced by human activities such as accessing Internet services, using mobile devices, and consuming energy and knowledge. In this paper, we describe the richest open multi-source dataset ever released on two geographical areas. The dataset is composed of telecommunications, weather, news, social networks and electricity data from the city of Milan and the Province of Trentino. The unique multi-source composition of the dataset makes it an ideal testbed for methodologies and approaches aimed at tackling a wide range of problems including energy consumption, mobility planning, tourist and migrant flows, urban structures and interactions, event detection, urban well-being and many others.
When people try to spot a lie, they generally make a judgment on a number of factors, including body language, expression, and word choice. This may be a mistake. People are complicated creatures, and they send mixed messages. Picking just one criterion to indicate truthfulness improves the odds of ferreting out a lie—but only a little bit.
This was the case in a recent experiment, run by the University of Huddersfield, where people asked to participate in a fake travel documentary were instructed to lie. Fake production assistants told the participants that they were running low on time, and would appreciate it if, on camera, they talked about one or two places they had traveled to and added in a couple of places they hadn’t traveled to. Under these circumstances, an evaluator looking for signs of guilt would probably be thrown off by people who believed that, by lying, they were helping people out, not hurting them. Nervousness might be a lie, or it might just be a response to being on camera.
Mental health practitioners answer the eternal question.
Jeb Bush might have pledged to conduct his campaign “joyfully,” but it’s hard to see the modern-day presidential campaign—months on the road, relentless attacks, kowtowing to donors—as anything but joyless. And if you make it through all that, your prize is one of the most stressful jobs in the world. Why do they do it? To understand, Politico Magazine asked leading psychologists and psychiatrists to get inside the candidates’ heads and diagnose the urge to run. Is it narcissism? Masochism? Psychosis? Are presidential candidates just like the rest of us—or are they just out of their minds?
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‘Grandiose narcissism levels are higher in more recent than in earlier presidents’
Research going back as far as 1998 suggests that modern politicians are more narcissistic than people in other professions. But in fact, politicians—at least those in positions of high power—might also be more narcissistic than ever. In a 2013 study published in Psychological Science, we and several colleagues examined a trait called grandiose narcissism, which comprises immodesty, boastfulness and interpersonal dominance (a certain presidential candidate in a gold-plated tower in Manhattan comes to mind). For every president up to and including George W. Bush, we asked eminent biographers and experts to complete extensive personality ratings for the five years before each president took office. The ratings revealed an intriguing trend: Grandiose narcissism levels are higher in more recent presidents than in earlier ones. Despite some caveats to this result, we also found that levels of several other traits, such as those linked to interpersonal oddity, were not higher in more recent presidents. Ultimately, our findings raise the possibility that the mounting pressures on candidates to be telegenic and adept at self-presentation may be selecting for heightened self-centeredness.
It’s a frustrating fact that most people would live longer if only they could make small changes: stop smoking, eat better, exercise more, practice safe sex.
Irrational Ventures is raising funds for Dan Ariely’s Irrational Card Game! on Kickstarter!
A thought provoking, engaging and fun way to incorporate social sciences and human behavior into a challenging and strategic game.
Why, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke asked rhetorically in an April 2012 speech, did the collapse of the trillion-dollar market for subprime mortgages set off the most severe financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression? Twelve years earlier, in 2000, the crash of high-flying technology companies such as Cisco Systems and dot-com companies such as Amazon and the now defunct Pets.com wiped out roughly $6 trillion in assets, but it set off only the relatively short and mild recession of 2001. Cisco and especially Amazon are today much larger.
The answer, now widely accepted but clearly not appreciated sufficiently at the time, is that the 2008 crisis was made possible by an extremely fragile financial system in which banks and many other businesses indulged in excessive leverage—too much borrowing—as well as hazardous reliance on short-term funding and negligent risk management, with lax regulatory supervision by the government.1